The Tangata Whenua Tribes of Te Tau Ihu

Contents

Three of the eight tangata whenua tribes in Te Tau Ihu (Rangitane, Ngati Kuia and Ngati Apa) are of Kurahaupo waka origins; three (Ngati Toa, Ngati Koata and Ngati Rarua) descend from the Tainui waka; and two are from northern Taranaki (Ngati Tama of Tokomaru waka origins and Te Atiawa of Aotea or Kurahaupo descent).

Taitook Pah - PelorusMurray J. P. fl 1880-1890s :Taitook Pah Pelorus. [ca 1880] Alexander Turnbull Library (C-126-014). [Permission must be sought of ATL prior to further use of this image]
Click image  to enlarge

Ngati Kuia descend from three ancestors who disembarked from the Kurahaupo at Te Tai Tapu in north-west Nelson as the waka circumnavigated Aotearoa upon arrival from Hawaiki in the thirteenth or fourteenth century. Kuia migrated eastwards and eventually established settlements in the Pelorus Valley and Sound, at D'Urville Island and along the eastern coast of Tasman Bay.

Rangitane migrated south from Wairarapa in the sixteenth century, led by chiefs who traded land at Wairarapa for waka to travel to the South Island. Through skirmishes and shifting alliances they consolidated their position in the Wairau, Queen Charlotte Sound, Awatere and the northern Kaikoura Coast.

A few Ngati Apa first crossed to the outer Sounds from the Rangitikei district in the late seventeenth century. Further contingents from the Rangitikei, Manawatu and Kapiti districts mounted a sizeable assault on Ngati Tumatakokiri in western Te Tau Ihu in the late 1700s, eventually ousting Tumatakokiri. After Tumatakokiri’s comprehensive defeat by Apa, Kuia and Ngai Tahu in about 1810, Apa consolidated their holdings from the Waimea west to Mohua (Golden Bay) and Buller, as well as in Queen Charlotte Sound.

Kuia, Rangitane and Apa were dramatically displaced as manawhenua iwi (having authority over the land) when they were defeated by the alliance of Tainui and Taranaki iwi (Ngati Toa, Ngati Koata, Ngati Rarua, Ngati Tama, Te Atiawa) c1828-1832, although they retain their tangata whenua status.

:RauparahaCoates, Isaac (1808-1878): Rauparaha. Chief Capiti. &c. &c. Principal chief of all New Zealand. [1843?] Alexander Turnbull Library (A-286-012)
Click image to enlarge

Toa, Koata and Rarua, had been forced to abandon their lands around Kawhia Harbour in 1821 by their better-armed Tainui cousins, Waikato and Ngati Maniapoto. After a ten-month stay in north Taranaki with relatives (Ngati Tama, Ngati Mutunga and Te Atiawa), which was spent planting and harvesting crops, hunting, fishing and preserving foods, the Toa chief, Te Rauparaha, led Te Heke Tataramoa down the west coast of the North Island. This was named the Bramble Bush Expedition, because of the difficulties of the journey. The Kawhia tribes and contingents of Tama, Mutunga and Atiawa conquered and occupied the districts of Rangitikei, Manawatu, Horowhenua, Otaki, Kapiti, Porirua and Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington).

After establishing themselves there, the allies (minus Mutunga who had migrated to the Chathams) turned their attention to the South Island to exact utu on Kurahaupo who had challenged them at Kapiti, and to avenge insults. Between 1828 and 1832, war parties conquered Te Tau Ihu (Nelson-Marlborough), and as far south as Kaiapoi and Okarito. Iwi subsequently agreed on the division of lands. Toa and some Rarua occupied the Wairau, Port Underwood, and northern Kaikoura Coast. Atiawa spread throughout Queen Charlotte Sound and Tory Channel. Koata settled at Rangitoto (D'Urville Island), the Croisilles and outer Pelorus, while Toa stayed in Pelorus Valley and the inner Sound. Tama got Wakapuaka and Rarua, Atiawa and some Tama occupied Motueka, Mohua and Te Tai Tapu (on the west coast south of Farewell Spit). Those Kurahaupo who survived were enslaved or withdrew to inland hiding places.

The Tainui Taranaki chiefs negotiated with New Zealand Company officials to allow European settlement.

2008 

Marae of Te Tau Ihu and Kakati

There are three meeting houses for the people of the Top of the South: Whakatu Marae in Nelson, Te Awhina Marae in Motueka and Onetahua Kokiri Marae in Golden Bay.

When Whakatu Marae was being built in the 1970's, it was recognised that  it needed to embrace, in some way, the kaupapa, kawa and tikanga of the six iwi of Whakatu, or Nelson City: Nga-ti Kuia, Nga-ti Ra-rua, Nga-ti Tama, Te Atiawa, Nga-ti Koata, and Nga-ti Toa Rangatira. A common ancestor of the iwi, Kakati, was thus immortalised in the house. Kakati's whakapapa is revealed in John Mitchell's summary: Ko Kakati Te Whare Tupuna Ki Whakatu Marae [PDF], which sheds light on the whakapapa of Te Tau Ihu.

Sources used in this story

  1. Allan, R: (1954) Nelson: A History of Early Settlement. Wellington : A H & A W Reed, pp22-25.
    http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/8650658
  2. Burns, P: (1983) Te Rauparaha - a new perspective, Auckland : Penguin 1983, pp 135-168.
    http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/154277953
  3. Elvy, J: (1957) Kei Puta Te Wairau: A History of Marlborough in Maori Time, Whitcomb and Tombs, Christchurch : pp71-73, 81.
    http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/44404325
  4. Minute Book No. 2 of the Nelson Native Land Court (1892) pp257-258, 289-290, 302, 309-310. (held Nelson Public Library)
  5. Mitchell, H & J: (2004) Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka: A History of Maori of Nelson and Marlborough Vol I, The people and the Land Huia Publishers, Wellington, and Wakatu Incorporation, Nelson p64-66, 77-80, 91-95, 100-131, 138-139.
    http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/63170610
  6. Smith, S P: (1910, reprint 1973) History and Traditions of the Taranaki Coast. Wellington, N.Z. : Polynesian Society: pp340-443, 483, 537-551. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/152409255
  7. Smith, S.P.(1910) History and traditions of the Maoris of the west coast, North Island of New Zealand, prior to 1840. New Plymouth, N.Z., Printed for the Society by T. Avery.
    http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/5900349

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  • The Tainui & Taranaki contingent's access to & use of muskets is a noteworthy factor.

    Posted by Marisa P, 27/11/2017 4:34am (21 days ago)

  • under your (Maori » The Tangata Whenua Tribes of Te Tau Ihu) in the first paragraph... the Te Atiawa of North Taranaki come from the Tokomaru Waka. not the Aotea Waka (South Taranaki) or Kurahaupo Waka (Mid Taranaki) Kia Ora :) Ed. Thankyou for the comment. We understand the lines have shifted through intermarriage etc.

    Posted by Vallance Wrathall, 20/12/2013 11:59pm (4 years ago)

  • LOVE IT !

    Posted by you, ()

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Further sources - The Tangata Whenua Tribes of Te Tau Ihu

Books

  • Allan, R: (1954) Nelson: A History of Early Settlement. Wellington : A H & A W Reed, pp22-25.
    http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/8650658
  • Burns, P: (1983) Te Rauparaha - a new perspective, Auckland : Penguin 1983, pp 135-168.
    http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/154277953
  • Elvy, J: (1957) Kei Puta Te Wairau: A History of Marlborough in Maori Time, Whitcomb and Tombs, Christchurch : pp71-73, 81.
    http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/44404325
  • Minute Book No. 2 of the Nelson Native Land Court (1892) pp257-258, 289-290, 302, 309-310. (held Nelson Public Library)
  • Mitchell, H & J: (2004) Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka: A History of Maori of Nelson and Marlborough Vol I, The people and the Land. Wellington: Huia Publishers and Nelson: Wakatu Incorporation,. p64-66, 77-80, 91-95, 100-131, 138-139.
    http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/63170610
  • Mitchell, H. (2010) Te tau ihu o te Waka : a history of Maori of Nelson and Marlborough. Vol III Nga Tupuna: The Ancestors. Wellington: Huia Publishers and Nelson: Wakatu Incorporation
  • Mitchell, H. (2014) Te tau ihu o te Waka : a history of Maori of Nelson and Marlborough. Vol IV, Nga whanau rangatira o Ngati Tama me Te Atiawa : the chiefly families of Ngati Tama and Te Atiawa. 
    Nelson : Ngati Tama ki Te Waipounamu Trust ; Picton ; Te Atiawa o Te Waka-a-Maui Trust.
  • Smith, S P: (1910, reprint 1973) History and Traditions of the Taranaki Coast. Wellington, N.Z. : Polynesian Society: pp340-443, 483, 537-551. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/152409255
  • Smith, S.P.(1910) History and traditions of the Maoris of the west coast, North Island of New Zealand, prior to 1840. New Plymouth, N.Z., Printed for the Society by T. Avery.
    http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/5900349

Other

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